Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back North

I have moved (again).

I’m now back in territory that’s a bit more familiar (Stroud Green), but a London borough I’ve never lived in before (Haringey).

For now I exist in a puzzling mix of the old and new. Whereas Tufnell Park Towers is but a Herculean stone’s throw away, I can still find myself wandering down previously unknown streets, and can almost feel my hippocampus churning away as it maps out my new surroundings, storing the location of certain shops, particularly striking bits of graffiti or interesting architecture as future reference points, occasionally seeming to ping like a microwave when it suddenly realises that a particular street eventually feeds into a road or park it already knows well. Sometimes I will find myself in a neighbourhood which I am sure I could never have visited before, only to find certain roads and front doors ignite dim memories of long forgotten houseparties, as I remember old university friends who used to live round this way when it was an alien and mysterious part of London to be travelled to and through under a horny and rowdy haze of alcohol.

I live on top of a hill, and whilst the lights of Canada Square and the Gherkin blink and gleam as I look in one direction, should I look out of the window in the other on a clear day I can see unbroken rolling green hills and fields north of London, which makes city life feel that little bit less relentless and claustrophobic.

Somehow I seem to have landed next to another mental lady neighbour. Whitfud – whose flat it is I am borrowing/sitting/blagging – diplomatically warns me she is insane and to be avoided at all costs. I had been a resident for but 2 hours when she first shouted at me. I am coming to the conclusion I’d rather neighbour ne’er-do-wells than interfering, opinionated, self-righteous, self-appointed do-gooders, but such is life.

I am currently telly-less, but aim to remedy this. In the meantime I have tried to fill the quiet evenings with sounds from the wireless, but am discovering that, should I venture away from the ever static and ever moving Long Wave reception, Haringey seems to be a hotspot for pirate radio stations (together, I read, with gun crime), which drown out any legitimate ones I might seek with my dial. In fact, the only one I can seem to find is Magic, which is hardly an improvement. I suppose I could text in and treat myself to a shout out.

11 comments:

Me Over Here said...

You just had to throw that "gun crime" bit in, didn't you? You know how I worry (but I also know that you're not shy about protecting yourself, so I'm not THAT worried). I look forward to more "Crazy Neighbor Lady" stories.

christianoshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Huw said...

christianoshi - Yeah, for about 2 years I lived just down the road. When people say Archway to me, I always think of the roundabout where the tube station and Archway Tower are: a rather desolute, congested, miserable, poorly-planned wind trap. But in truth, Archway covers a large area, and is probably as good as any of the areas which can be found tucked off the Holloway Road. There's plenty of buses too...

Curly said...

It's grim up North, I've heard.

Rob West said...

Updatin' the old bloggareedoo again. Spread the word.

Léonie said...

Until I re-read it, I was lifted by images of you wandering around North London alongside a hippopotamus with digestive trouble.

I sort of wish I hadn't re-read it.

Chris Cope said...

I want Haringey to be a hotspot for radio stations run by pirates, but I'm guessing that's not what you meant. Because if it were, instead of gun crime you'd have swashbuckling.

Anonymous said...

Archway's okay. In parts. It's a bit of a dump near the tube station, though. And the apalling architecture of the tower creates a terribly effective wind-tunnel.

Oh and don't get off a bus on the Holloway road at night. (You may not see gun crime, but you may see machete crime.)

Otherwise, it's okay. The nearer you get to Highgate the nicer it gets amazingly.

And Huw, does Magic still have a magic newsroom? The image of a newsdesk surrounded by pixies, rainbows and toadstools really appeals somehow.

Dancinfairy said...

If the wind is in the right direction we sometimes pick up Magic, which I think is one of the worst radio stations in the country. I hate radio like that, full of adverts. Totally drives me mad.

Would it help if you went digital?

Huw said...

Rob & Dancinfairy: Magic has been banished now, thanks to getting my Dijjjjit... ditig... er, my other radio up.

Harriet said...

To be honest with you I think that Stroud Green end of Haringey (and its proximity to Crouch End - yuppie-loved, couply, 4 wheel drive buggies) is probably very well heeled in comparison to the seedier end of Finsbury Park (particularly the Hackney and Islington sides where the prozzies hang and the estates are) and most of the gun crime I would hazard a guess happens in Wood Green and Tottenham which are far far from your new neck of the woods. Also you are a goodly distance from Haringey Green lanes where the drug trafficking is rife. So all in all I think you struck lucky in your choice of neighbourhood. Thank your lucky stars you didn't go to Peckham or Lewisham where the real gun crime happens!